Businesses purchase products and services online more than ever before. In business-to-business e-commerce, only a small one-digit percentage of online sales are made via marketplaces. Especially in the retail and wholesale sectors, where large companies operate, buyers generate purchase orders through other channels of digital procurement, such as EDI software (electronic digital interchange). However, e-commerce marketplaces are slowly gaining ground due to being able to provide more customized and flexible supply for businesses, adjusting to their demand and offering an interactive customer experience.
In terms of gross merchandise volume, B2B e-commerce sales in Asia rank first in the world, followed by North America. Between 2012 and 2020, the value of B2B e-commerce transactions in China alone underwent a fourfold increase.
Asia makes up roughly 80 percent of the global B2B e-commerce market. The Chinese market was valued at 27.5 trillion yuan, steadily increasing since 2012. The sustained growth also involves B2B retail platforms of small and medium-sized enterprises, whose revenues are on the rise. In the United States, both wholesale and manufacturing sectors are experiencing a moderate yet steady growth of B2B e-commerce transactions.
All purchases made by businesses through e-commerce channels can be grouped under the wholesale and manufacturing segments. In the United States, wholesale trade e-commerce reported increasing figures, especially for non-durable goods. The value of grocery products in online wholesale trade rose to over 375 billion U.S. dollars. Furthermore, online channels make up nearly 70 percent of all shipments in the manufacturing sector.
In most countries, the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to sell their products or services online more than before. In the B2B sector, the purchasing experience on e-commerce platforms is under improvement and customization to better meet businesses' needs. Vendors are beginning to apply strategies and provide more services typical of B2C e-commerce: more efficient customer service, personalization, and integration with other online environments.
While e-commerce Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suites like Adobe, SAP, or Salesforce mainly target large companies, generalist and specialist marketplaces are booming in mainstream B2B online shopping. Alibaba and Amazon lead the ranking of generalist B2B marketplaces, while several smaller platforms raise increasing funding in different sectors.
B2B e-commerce describes digital commerce between businesses at the level of manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers as opposed to the general public or governments. Statista provides crucial figures about the market and covers the leading platforms and marketplaces, differentiating by industries and sectors. Further insights analyze the attitudes and shopping behavior of B2B buyers.